safety

safety

The guys over Teknikens Värld recently got a little more than they bargained for when they performed a Moose test (or Elk test) with the brand-spanking new 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee . The Moose test determines how a vehicle acts when the driver evades a suddenly appearing obstacle, such as an animal or a child, and the Grand Cherokee didn’t exactly get to the top of the class.

The purpose of this test - done at very low speeds - was to determine how well the SUV’s active safety system would work. At only 39.5 mph, the Jeep Jeep Grand Cherokee went up on two wheels, in the middle of the maneuver. If it wasn’t for the professional driver behind the wheel, it would have easily rolled over. As many can imagine, not everyone that purchases vehicles have professional driving skills, so at the hands of probably most Jeep Grand Cherokee owners, the result could be deadly. According to Teknikens Värld’s Linus Pröjtz, this is an unacceptable result for a 2012 SUV, and we would have to 100% agree with this.

By comparison, SUVs like the Volkswagen Touareg and the Volvo XC90 did well at even greater speeds of 43.5 mph. To make matters worse, when Teknikens Värld performed the Moose Test on the previous generation of the Jeep Grand Cherokee, it passed the test with no problems at all.

This information should certainly not fall on deaf ears, especially the ears of Chrysler heads.

UPDATE 07/09/2012: Teknikens Varld’s tough review of the 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee immediately caught the attention of Chrysler heads and the company is none too pleased with the results. Their displeasure doesn’t stem from the Grand Cherokee’s failure, though. According to Chrysler, several attempts were made by Chrysler Group engineers to recreate the two-wheeled escapade of Varld’s test, to no avail. Chrysler then joined Teknikens Varld’s team to see if they could recreate the terrible result and they also could not. Turns out, the Jeep used in Varld’s first Moose test was loaded beyond its weight specifications. The Grand Cherokee’s weight limitations are clearly stated on the vehicle and in the owner’s manual.

All is good in our world again.

Hit the jump to read the full statement from Chrysler.

UPDATE 07/10/2012: It looks like Teknikens Varld is not going to give up. After Chrysler attacked them and said their test was not accurate, the Swedish magazine posted a second part to their test in which they explained how the Grand Cherokee failed the evasive maneuver test. According to them, the car they tested was loaded according to the specifications for the maximum load in the Swedish registration certificate and was riding on standard equipment tires. Also, all systems, such as chassis settings, air suspension, and similar, were in normal mode. Even so, in each test they performed, the car either went up on two wheels or was close to overturning. We’re assuming Chrysler is going to have something to say about this as well. The drama continues!!

UPDATE 07/13/2012: The guys from Teknikens Varld are seriously not going to give up! Today they have posted a new part to their Grand Cherokee moose test in which they advise customers not to buy the new Jeep Grand Cherokee until Jeep/Chrysler solves the problems. We are pretty curious to find out what Jeep has to say about this.

In the past few years, zombies and vampires have been like a disease in the cinematographic industry and it looks like Hyundai has gotten the fever as they have unveiled a very strange looking Elantra Coupe . Called the "Zombie Survival Machine," this life-saving model was designed by The Walking Dead creator/writer Robert Kirkman and fabricated by Design Craft. It was built in honor of the 100th issue of the comic series “The Walking Dead.”

The Elantra is well-equipped to ward off any blood-thirsty zombie with armored window coverings, a roof hatch to allow passengers to fend off attacking walkers, and a trunk full of electric and pneumatic weaponry to blast off their heads. Any leftover carcasses can be done away with using the front-end custom zombie plow with spikes because, well, who doesn’t want spikes when attacking zombies? Speaking of spikes, the Elantra also has spiked all-terrain/rally type tires to allow passengers to get to safety and, when all of the technology is wiped out due to the crumbling of our world as we know it, the Elantra will be ready with a CB radio system.

"Our custom Elantra Coupe Zombie Survival Machine is the ultimate car for The Walking Dead fans and anyone who wants to survive a zombie invasion," said Steve Shannon, vice president of Marketing, Hyundai Motor America. "We are excited for fans to come and experience the Elantra Coupe and GT in a unique, post-apocalyptic way."

The devastating Waldo Canyon wildfire is no laughing matter, so much in fact that it forced the cancellation of the 2012 Pikes Peak Hill Climb , which was originally scheduled for July 8.

While we certainly hope and pray for the safety of all those involved, we were happy to find out that the race has been re-scheduled for August 12. Barring any conflicts from all the participants for the event, we can all expect a full cast of all the 211 competitors that will be ready to run the race up the clouds.

This year, we can expect to see the usual cast of racers at Pikes Peak led by no less than the legend himself, Nobuhiro "Monster" Tajima . A number of other drivers will also be in attendance, including Walter Röhrl who will be driving the iconic Audi Sport quattro A1 up the hill.

For now, pencil in August 12 as the date, although that could still change if the wildfire hasn’t been contained at that time.

So cross your fingers, people. While we’d love to see Pikes Peak take place on its re-scheduled date, we wouldn’t want to see it if it means that it could still be dangerous for all parties involved.

We told you before exactly how awesome RallyCross really is. It’s full of carnage, contact, and even bicycle ramps. Well, on the flip-side of that coin is extreme danger, especially where the jumping part is concerned. At the X-Games RallyCross running this year, there was a jump with a 50-foot gap and clearing that is typically not a problem.

Well, RallyCross rookie, Toomas Heikkinen, found out just what can happen if you take the jump a little too slowly. As Toomas exits his jump, you can tell something just isn’t quite right. Your feeling would be accurate too, as he slams headfirst into the landing ramp, absolutely destroying his car and landing upside down.

Toomas managed to get out of his flipped Ford Fiesta , as it spewed fluids and fortunately got out prior to it catching fire. Also fortunate is the fact that Toomas escaped with his life, though he does have a broken ankle and some abdominal pain, according to X-Games representatives, to deal with. This means that he will likely not compete in the remainder of the X-Games, but you never know about these RallyCross guys.

Our best wishes go out to Heikkinen for a speedy recovery and a successful return from his injury. Since he is doing well, we feel some good video of the crash is in order. There are two different angles of the crash, with the first being the best, and you can just imagine how much that wreck hurt.

The best video is above and the alternate angle is after the jump.

There are only a handful of circumstances that can force the cancellation of an event as highly-anticipated as the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb .

Unfortunately, Mother Nature is one of them.

As a result of the Waldo Canyon wildfire in Colorado Springs, the U.S. Forest Service has clamped down and banned the staging of the 90th Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in June 8. According to the government agency, the extreme conditions of the fire, coupled with its unpredictable nature, has made it virtually impossible to host the event at this moment.

Major bummer.

Tom Osborne, chairman of the board for the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb and president and CEO of the Colorado Springs Sports Corporation, understands the decision of the Forest Services, noting that safety for participants and fans remain top priority.

"Our deepest concern is for the safety of the public and the competitors," he said.

"It was obvious that several agencies charged with public safety would not be able to commit the resources and manpower required to ensure those requirements because of the critical need for their resources at this time. Our city is in an unprecedented struggle right now and we are deeply sensitive to it."

For now, race organizers have announced that the event will still take place at a later date, possibly "later in the summer." The schedule has to be set up in such a way that all the participants - drivers, teams, etc. - are available, making for what could be a huge logistical problem for the organizers.

Likewise, fans that have already booked tickets for the event will have their tickets honored on the new race date, whenever that’s going to be.

Posted on by Alexander + 6

According to the FBI, we’re coming up to a couple of the hottest months of the year, and we’re not talking about the weather. Turns out, July and August are the top two months for vehicle theft, and LoJack and the International Association of Auto Theft Investigators (IAATI) are doing their part by holding their 6th annual National Vehicle Theft Protection Month. For this year, they have come up with an infographic that provides a few details and stats about car theft, as well as some helpful hints to ensure you are not a victim.

First, the facts. In 2010, there were 737,000 vehicle thefts and only 56% of those vehicles were ever recovered. The average loss per vehicle was $6,152. Not exactly a small number by anyone’s standards. What’s worse is that, if you own a Honda Accord , Honda Civic , and Toyota Camry , you are more likely to be a victim because these were the top three vehicles stolen in 2010. The Ford Mustang made up a total of 9,116 instances of car theft in 2010, so we can only imagine how many of the top three vehicles were stolen during that time.

Where you live is also a factor. Nine out of 10 areas in numbers of stolen cars are in California and Washington State, with seven of the areas belonging to The Golden State.

Being the trusting - or rushed - souls that we are, 68% of people have left their car running when they aren’t in it or have left their car unlocked, while 64% of people have their home address programmed into their GPS system and 32% have left an electronic device or personal documents in plain view.

So what can we do to protect ourselves and our vehicles from theft? The number one protection aid is to use COMMON SENSE. Hey, they said it, we only repeated it. The second and third are to use theft protection products and a tracking and recovery system.

Check out the rest of the infographic after the jump to get more helpful information and remember to check back with us for the next installment in our Car Infographics series.

Will.I.Am's IAMAUTO Car

For a while now, Black Eyed Peas member, Will.I.Am, has been prancing a DeLorean DMC-12 wrapped in a body kit and some rather odd looking headlights around calling it a (ahem) “Concept car ” for his new “car company” dubbed “IAMAUTO.” In reality, this is literally nothing but an uglier version of the original crap box that hit the market in 1981.

Saying that any rendition of the DMC-12 could be uglier than the original may seem rather impossible, but this monstrosity takes the cake. Its sheer ugliness is not the news though. The news is that the LAPD has recently impounded this “concept” car. Though we wish we could say it was impounded for lowering property value, we cannot, but it is for an equally boneheaded reason.

Will.I.Am was caught driving this thing around L.A. without a license plate, registration, or VIN plates. We venture to say that list can also include insurance, as you typically cannot insure a car without a VIN.

So why did Mr. I.Am decide to take his “concept” on an un-plated and extremely illegal spin? According to reports, the musician said he just wanted to feel what it was like to drive his concept car on the street. Um, a few problems… First, that is no more a concept car than a 1987 Fiero with a Ferrari kit is a concept car. Secondly, you are a multi-millionaire pop star, pay to have the thing registered before driving it or take it to a track to drive it!

We’re not here to pass judgment on the guy, but please use that 3-pound hunk of water, lipids, protein, carbs, soluble organics, and inorganic salts inside of your skull (A.K.A. your brain) next time you think about taking an un-plated and unregistered car for a spin.

A silver lining in the whole situation is that Will.I.Am was, according to reports, extremely cooperative with the police. So we have to give him credit for that, at least.

We absolutely love daredevil antics in cars and on motorcycles, given they are done safely and by professionals. The folks at Top Gear Live are just about to satisfy our craving by pulling off the first 720 on four wheels, which Top Gear has dubbed the “Deadly 720.” The term “720” refers to a pair of 360-degree loops in succession, so absolute perfection is required to succeed in tackling each loop.

To give you an idea of just how much precision is needed, the engineers heading up the stunt have estimated that the customized buggy that Top Gear Live is using for this stunt must enter each loop between 24 and 26 mph, 2 mph more could result in excessive G-force and result in the driver blacking out and 2 mph too low would cause the buggy to fall from the loop. To help avoid driver error, Top Gear has fitted the special stunt buggy with an accelerator lock that will hold the accelerator in a precise position to maintain the prescribed speed, so the driver can focus only on keeping the buggy on the 58-meter-long track.

Despite the accelerator lock, we all know that any given car can run drastically different from one day to the next, so even with the lock, there is still a great possibility that the car will have too much or too little speed and we will see a spectacular crash. We are pretty certain that there will be tons of test runs on the actual day to make sure the car is perfect, so a crash is very unlikely.

Crash or not, we are all set to see history take place at the Top Gear Festival in the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, South Africa on June 16th – 17th, 2012. Ah, the things people will do to get in a record book.

UPDATE 06/19/2012: The group at Top Gear finally attempted the “Deadly 720” this weekend, and just as expected… It all went exactly to plan. This places the Top Gear Live clan in the Guinness Book of World Record for the most loops by an automobile. Congrats to our Top Gear daredevils. We have also attached a video of the stunt (above). Hit the one minute mark to skip the introductions.

Click past the jump to read Top Gear’s full press release.

If you live in the south especially, you are rather familiar with the various low-speed spectacles that occur on racetracks that typically involve a $500 Dodge Omni without windows and a glass-pack muffler. You know, the amateur circle track circuits, of course. Having owned and operated various mechanic shops in the southern United States, I have become accustomed to these races and the mechanics that show up on Saturday mornings with their “race cars” en tow for that afternoon’s race.

I personally have never frequented these races, but I can only imagine the hilarity that takes place when you get a bunch of race-fuel adrenaline junkies on a track that is too small and they are battling for position at speeds in excess of a sound-barrier-breaking 45 mph. Well, sometimes a little fun breaks out at these fine automobile competitions, as some get a little bit too excited and go way overboard.

The scene in the above video is a prime example of what happens when a non-professional racer gets a little too angry and goes on an exhaust fume-fueled rage. The driver of the red car, which looks to be a circa-1987 Nissan Pulsar, apparently has some sort of beef with the driver of the black car with green numbers and decides to turn his sub-compact “racecar” into a missile.

The driver veers through the infield and rather impressively aligns his car up with his moving target – clearly using advanced physics to make such a precise maneuver – and slams into the side of the enemy racer. The driver of the black car does what any self-respecting racer does; he proceeds to exit his cockpit and confront the red car’s driver. Well, that didn’t turn out well either, as the red car’s driver wasn’t done yet and proceeded to beat the hell out of the black car’s driver.

We never condone violence, but in the famed words of Larry the Cable Guy "I don’t care who you are, that’s funny right der…" We are willing to bet that the red car’s driver is suspended from the track for just about as long as he lives.

The 2012 FIA World Touring Car Championship season has received a surge in popularity in the past few years. Capitalizing on this new-found attention, the WTCC has enlisted the services of an American icon to serve as its official safety car: the fifth-generation Chevrolet Camaro.

Although the WTCC Camaro Safety Car will carry a serial engine, it still carries enough juice - 432 horsepower’s worth of it - to outpace all the touring cars in the series by as much as 40%.

The WTCC Camaro Safety Car will be piloted by Portuguese driver Bruno Correia, a veteran racer that has been involved in over 350 races. Needless to say, Correia is more than qualified to be behind the wheel of the car that is instrumental in restoring order in the often chaotic and action-packed races of the WTCC.

The WTCC even has a video explaining the need for a car of the Camaro’s stature to serve as its official safety car. You can check that out by clicking on the photo above.


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